Kōji Kitao

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Futahaguro Kōji
双羽黒光司
Futahaguro handprint.JPG
Futahaguro's handprint displayed on a monument in Ryōgoku, Tokyo
Personal information
Born Kōji Kitao
(1963-08-12) August 12, 1963 (age 51)
Tsu, Mie, Japan
Height 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in)
Weight 160 kg (350 lb; 25 st)
Career
Stable Tatsunami
Record 348-184-24
Debut March, 1979
Highest rank Yokozuna (July, 1986)
Retired December, 1987
Championships 0 (Makuuchi)
1 (Jūryō)
1 (Jonokuchi)
Special Prizes Outstanding Performance (5)
Technique (2)
Gold Stars 3 (Kitanoumi, Chiyonofuji,
Takanosato)
* Up to date as of March 2007.

Kōji Kitao (born August 12, 1963) is a former sumo wrestler and professional wrestler, born in Mie, Japan. He was sumo's 60th yokozuna, and the only yokozuna in sumo history not to win a top division tournament championship.[1] He was forced to leave sumo at the end of 1987 after a falling-out with his stable master Tatsunami, and became a professional wrestler in 1990.

Sumo wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Born in Tsu, Kitao made his professional sumo debut in March 1979 at the age of 15, joining Tatsunami stable, and he reached the top, makuuchi division in September 1984 after winning the championship in the jūryō division. In his second tournament in the top division he defeated yokozuna Kitanoumi and was awarded the Outstanding Performance prize and promotion to komusubi. He made his sekiwake debut in May 1985. In July 1985 he was back in the maegashira ranks but defeated two more yokozuna and was tournament runner-up with twelve wins. After finishing runner-up once more in November 1985 he was promoted to the second highest rank of ōzeki. Kitao continued his rapid rise with his third runner-up performance in May 1986, followed by a 14-1 score in July, his only loss being to Hoshi. He defeated yokozuna Chiyonofuji on the final day to force a playoff with him, which Kitao lost.

Promotion to yokozuna[edit]

After this result the Japan Sumo Association were faced with a difficult decision as there was only one yokozuna on the ranking lists, but five ōzeki, with a sixth wrestler - Hoshi (who would become yokozuna Hokutoumi), winner of the March 1986 tournament, already performing to ōzeki standard. The Association decided to promote Kitao to yokozuna and Hoshi to ōzeki. Kitao had won 36 bouts in the last three tournaments and been runner-up in the last two, so the defacto promotion standard of "two tournament championships or the equivalent" was interpreted rather loosely. He was just 22 years old and the first person to be promoted to yokozuna without any top division tournament titles since Terukuni in 1942.[2] The Sumo Association insisted that Kitao could no longer compete under his family name at such an exalted rank so he adopted the shikona of Futahaguro, the name being formed from two highly successful former yokozuna from his stable, Futabayama and Haguroyama.[2]

Downfall and expulsion[edit]

The decision to promote Futahaguro backfired and he proved to be a great embarrassment to the sumo establishment. His debut as a yokozuna in the September 1986 tournament saw him pull out on the seventh day with only three wins, and after two runner-up scores in November 1986 and January 1987 a series of mediocre performances followed. His best result as a yokozuna came in November 1987 when he was runner-up for the seventh time, with a 13-2 record. However, controversy was never far away from him. Several tsukebito (junior members) of his stable refused to serve under him following an incident on the 1987 winter tour in which he physically punished one of them[3] and as a result of this, in December 1987 he had a heated argument with his stable boss, Tatsunami, and stormed out, allegedly striking Tatsunami's wife on the way.[2] The elders of the Sumo Association responded, without giving Futahaguro a hearing, by voting to accept his "resignation". Futahaguro became the first yokozuna ever to be expelled from sumo this way.[2] He had lasted just eight tournaments at yokozuna rank and had proved unable to win a championship.

Sumo career record[edit]

Futahaguro Kōji[4]
Year in sumo January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
March
Haru basho, Osaka
May
Natsu basho, Tokyo
July
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
September
Aki basho, Tokyo
November
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
1979 x (Maezumo) East Jonokuchi #5
7–0–P
Champion

 
East Jonidan #21
4–3
 
East Jonidan #2
4–3
 
East Sandanme #78
4–3
 
1980 West Sandanme #56
4–3
 
West Sandanme #40
2–5
 
West Sandanme #69
4–3
 
East Sandanme #55
4–3
 
East Sandanme #36
5–2
 
West Sandanme #9
4–3
 
1981 West Makushita #55
4–3
 
West Makushita #40
5–2
 
East Makushita #23
4–3
 
West Makushita #15
3–4
 
West Makushita #21
4–3
 
West Makushita #13
4–3
 
1982 East Makushita #9
3–4
 
East Makushita #15
0–1–6
 
East Makushita #50
6–1–P
 
East Makushita #22
5–2
 
West Makushita #11
4–3
 
East Makushita #9
3–4
 
1983 East Makushita #15
4–3
 
East Makushita #12
4–3
 
East Makushita #7
4–3
 
East Makushita #3
2–3–2
 
East Makushita #18
6–1–PPP
 
West Makushita #4
4–3
 
1984 East Jūryō #13
8–7
 
East Jūryō #9
10–5
 
East Jūryō #7
10–5
 
West Jūryō #1
12–3
Champion

 
East Maegashira #8
8–7
 
West Maegashira #3
8–7
O
1985 West Komusubi #1
10–5
T
East Komusubi #1
10–5
O
West Sekiwake #1
6–6–3
 
East Maegashira #1
12–3
OT
West Sekiwake #1
11–4
O
East Sekiwake #1
12–3
O
1986 East Ōzeki #2
10–5
 
West Ōzeki #1
10–5
 
East Ōzeki #1
12–3
 
East Ōzeki #1
14–1–P
 
West Yokozuna #1
3–4–8
 
West Yokozuna #1
12–3
 
1987 West Yokozuna #1
12–3–P
 
West Yokozuna #1
7–3–5
 
West Yokozuna #1
10–5
 
West Yokozuna #1
8–7
 
East Yokozuna #2
9–6
 
West Yokozuna #2
13–2
 
1988 Dismissed x x x x x
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Retired Lower Divisions

Sanshō key: F=Fighting spirit; O=Outstanding performance; T=Technique     Also shown: =Kinboshi(s); P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Kōji Kitao
Born (1963-08-12) August 12, 1963 (age 51)
Mie, Japan
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Kōji Kitao
Mitsuharu Kitao
Billed height 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in)
Billed weight 160 kg (350 lb)
Trained by New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo
Debut February 10, 1990
Retired October 11, 1998

Upon being dismissed by the Sumo Association, Kitao was linked with a move to America's National Football League, but instead turned to professional wrestling. To mollify the association, he dropped the shikona and reverted to his real name.[5]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1990)[edit]

Trained at the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo, he debuted as a wrestler on February 10, 1990, at the NJPW/AJPW Supershow in the Tokyo Dome, where he defeated Bam Bam Bigelow in a highly anticipated match. Unfortunately, his stay in NJPW didn't last long, because later that July, he was fired for disrespectful conduct towards the Korean-born Riki Chōshū, who Kitao taunted using an ethnic slur.

Super World of Sports (1990-1991)[edit]

Upon joining SWS in November 1990, he teamed with fellow former sumo Genichiro Tenryu. In an appearance at the World Wrestling Federation's WrestleMania VII, Tenryu and Kitao defeated Demolition. According to sources, during his match with another former sumo-turned-pro wrestler in John "Earthquake" Tenta on April 1, 1991 at a show in Kobe, Kitao and Tenta broke kayfabe by being uncooperative with each other. Kitao didn't sell Earthquake's attacks and shot on him. After Kitao was disqualified for kicking the referee, he immediately grabbed a microphone and began telling the audience that wrestling is fake and that Tenta never could really beat him, as other Japanese wrestlers attempted to restrain him. It was said that Tenta had been incited by The Great Kabuki to provoke Kitao, but nothing came from this. Because of the incident, Koji was subsequently fired from SWS.[6]

Pro wrestling and mixed martial arts (1991-1998)[edit]

Kitao then wandered in martial arts and got a black belt in karate. In 1992 he returned to wrestling under his new martial arts persona by appearing in a UWF International event, defeating Kazuo Yamazaki. This enabled him to face UWF-i top star Nobuhiko Takada in a worked shoot wrestling match. Pre-match discussions over the outcome of the match led to an agreement being reached for a draw, but Takada saw an opportunity and double-crossed Kitao during the match, legitimately KO'ing him with a kick to the head. Takada had won, but the importance of the match was that Kitao was truly back into puroresu. Moreover, Kitao showed a more respectful personality, bowing to the crowd and shaking hands with Takada after the match.

In the following years he was recruited by his long-time friend Genichiro Tenryu for his Wrestle Association R promotion. Kitao also formed his own dojo and promotion called "Kitao Dojo", later changed to "Bukō Dōjō". Among the wrestlers that came out of the dojo were Masaaki Mochizuki, Yoshikazu Taru, and Takashi Okamura, who later became business partners of Último Dragón in his junior heavyweight ventures. In WAR, they competed as a stable led by Kitao, also called Bukō Dōjō.

On May 5, 1995, Kitao appeared in New Japan Pro Wrestling to reconcile with Riki Choshu, and wrestled a match along Antonio Inoki against Choshu and Tenryu. Kitao participated in some Martial Arts Festivals arranged by Inoki, beating foreign wrestlers like Crusher Kline, Kane, and Mabel.

From 1996 to 1997, Kitao would later make three mixed martial arts appearances, with a loss to Pedro Otavio at the first Universal Vale Tudo Fighting event, and at UFC 9, losing to Mark Hall in 40 seconds by referee's stoppage due to a broken nose. In 1997, Kitao was invited to PRIDE 1, in which he defeated future WWE employeeNathan Jones in his only MMA match by keylock.

In 1997, he won his only title, the WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Championship, with Mochizuki and WAR rookie Nobukazu Hirai in October 1997. They retained it for a year, dropping it in 1998 against Koki Kitahara, Lance Storm & Nobutaka Araya. Koji retired from pro wrestling in October 1998, celebrating his retirement ceremony in the PRIDE 4 event.

Sumo coaching role[edit]

In the summer of 2003 he made a surprise return to the world of sumo when he was invited to oversee some practice sessions at his former Tatsunami stable.[3] His return was possible thanks to the retirement of Kitao's old stablemaster Haguroyama Sojō, who had been accused of illegally pocketing money from the stable fundings. Kitao was invited by the new stablemaster thanks to the makushita Haguroumi, who had served as a tsukebito to Kitao in the past. Though Kitao and Haguroumi were on bad terms, Haguroumi asked for a reappraisal of Kitao's case, and it was clear that most of what was alleged to have taken place between Kitao and Sojō was made up by the latter.[7]

Other media[edit]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Kitao Dojo
    • Bukō Dojo Tournament (1995)

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 1-2 Nathan Jones Submission (keylock) PRIDE 1 October 11, 1997 1 2:14 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 0-2 Mark Hall TKO (doctor stoppage) UFC 9 May 17, 1996 1 0:40 Detroit, Michigan, United States
Loss 0-1 Pedro Otavio Submission (elbows) Universal Vale Tudo Fighting 1 April 5, 1996 1 5:49 Japan

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Haberman, Clive (88-02-01). "Wrestler fails to keep hold on an honorable past". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d Sharnoff, Lora (1993). Grand Sumo. Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0283-X. 
  3. ^ a b Chris Gould (August 2007). "The Curse of the Shiranui" (PDF). sumofanmag.com. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  4. ^ "Futahaguro Koji Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  5. ^ D'Orso, Mike (12 February 1990). "Will Sumo Wrestling's Loss Be Pro Wrestling's Gain?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 26 May 2009. 
  6. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/wrestling/cawthon777/91.htm
  7. ^ Joe Kuroda. "Rikishi of Old - The 60th Yokozuna Futahaguro Koji (1963~) Part II". Sumofanmag.com. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "New Japan Pro Wrestling Results: 1989~1999 (Tokyo Dome)" (in German). PuroLove.com. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  9. ^ a b "Profile at Puroresu Central". Puroresu Central. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  10. ^ http://cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=4273&view=awards#awards
  11. ^ http://www.purolove.com/tokyosports.php

External links[edit]

Previous:
Takanosato Toshihide
60th Yokozuna
July 1986 - December 1987
Next:
Hokutoumi Nobuyoshi
Yokozuna is not a successive rank, and more than one wrestler can share the title